Transreflective Upgrade - The Review
I visited Nathan (nmbenson) from FPD Design Group and he demo'ed a desktop display which had the transreflective upgrade that they are proposing for us. Note that this desktop display did not have a touchscreen. The pictures taken were all taken between 11:00am and 12:00pm. The weather was overcast here in southern california today, not the best for taking direct sunlight pics, but I think that overall you will still get a good impression of what this upgrade can do for us.
Here is what the day looked like today...Pretty overcast.
Okay, here is a shot of the desktop lcd taken outside in the open. Notice the good color contrast of the lcd, and how easily it can be read out in the open. Also notice that the reflections are dramtically reduced.
Here is a comparison shot. This is a laptop that has the 3M AR coated film treatment only. This laptop does not have the transreflective treatment. Notice that the brightness and contrast are nowhere near the same.
Here is a shot from the inside of my car. Here i took a shot of the transreflective lcd and my stock Xenarc unit with touchscreen. You can see how washed out the image looks on the xenarc as compared to the lcd. This is with the Xenarc backlight setting at 99 and the brightness set to 68 and contrast set to 44. Those are the best daytime conditions I can get with the xenarc. This is without a glare showing on the screen. I took this picture looking at the screen straight on from the rear seat.
Here is another shot of the screens together for comparison. Here you can see that there is a lot of glare on the xenarc. This shot was taken with the camera about the same position that the drivers head would be in. Im playing a video (Prison Break) on the xenarc. From this angle, you can see that there is also a reflected glare on the lcd (you can see powerlines in the image as well as trees) however, the portion of the lcd that is not reflecting can be seen pretty clearly. I did notice that when viewing the lcd from wide angles you see more of the reflected outside environment than you do the picture on the lcd.
Here is another shot taken from inside the car. You can see how bad the xenarc looks, its totally washed out. Even the bright portions of the video seem dull and gray. As compared to the lcd, there is no contest.
These next two shots really show you the difference between what we currently have to deal with, and whats possible. We took a Mag Light flashlight and put it right in front of the xenarc. I placed the camera directly underneath the flashlight as it was pointed at the xenarc and took the picture. You can see how much glare there is in the picture. This simulates the problems we have with direct sunlight.
Here is that same picture, except this time with the lcd. Notice how dramatically the glare is reduced?
The final picture I have is one of the touchscreens. This is a basic touchscreen, similar to what comes with our xenarc and liliput displays. I know that my Xenarc touchscreen looks like this (its even a little worse) because I have taken the monitor apart when I installed it. Notice how bad the transparency of this touchscreen is? Its horrible, look at the red tail light of the car from outside the touchscreen and then compare it to what it looks like when the touchscreen is in front. Pretty ****ty right?
Now for the specifics:
The main person to contact for this upgrade is Nathan Benson at FPD Design Group. He will be the person that you ship your screens to (more on that below) and will be the main point of contact for those of you who are interested in doing this. His contact information is given below.
First off, you will need to ship your lcd with the controller board. They would prefer us to take the screens apart and ship them the lcd and controller only. This makes it easier on them, as well as cheaper on us. They wont have to waste time taking the bezel and everything else apart.
Touchscreens: For those of us with touchscreens, you will not need to ship them your touch screen. The touchscreens that we have on Xenarcs and Liliputs are crap, they cant do anything with them. We will have to purchase a touchscreen from FPD which will be optically matched to the lcd for best performance. Nathan told me the price will be 150 ~ 200 dollars for the touchscreen (depending on size). The transreflective enhancement of the lcd itself will run approximately $245 for a 7" screen. So, add those two numbers up, plus shipping and thats approximately what you will pay total. THIS IS NOT A CHEAP UPGRADE, THIS IS A TOTAL SOLUTION!!!
No Touchscreens: If your monitor doesnt have a touchscreen, now is your chance to add one. You can purchase the transreflective enhancement, along with a matching touchscreen. The touchscreen comes with the controller, either RS-232 (Serial) or USB. This is another option for those without a touchscreen. If you have no need of one, then you can just upgrade the lcd for an overall cheaper price.
Turnaround Time: Nathan tells me that for most small size screens (7 - 12) inch screens, the total time is approximately 2 - 3 weeks. He said that its generally faster than this, however we need to keep in mind that they do not work over the weekend. If you decide to do this upgrade, you will need to to try to ship on a thursday so that they can have it on monday. For larger size screens, expect the turnaround time to increase.
Pricing for Enhancement of LCD ONLY:
6.4" to 7" trioLCD transflective enhancement
(Single unit enhancement price: $245.95)
8.4" trioLCD transflective enhancement
(Single unit enhancement price: $285.95)
10.4" transflective enhancement
(Single unit enhancement price: $325.95)
12.1" trioLCD transflective enhancement
(Single unit enhancement price: $365.95)
PLEASE CONTACT Nathan AT firstname.lastname@example.org
DO NOT SEND PM. HE WILL NOT ANSWER THEM. THANK YOU
14168 Central Avenue, Ste. E
Chino, CA 91710
See the results of the process for yourself. Direct sunlight viewable is a reality!